Dire Straits fans were not disappointed as Mark Knofler belted out 'Brothers in arms,' 'So Far Away' and 'Ticket to Philadelphia'. The Mumbai crowd went totally wild when he sang 'Sultans of Swing,' and chipped in for backing vocals on the immortal MTV track 'Money for Nothing'. 'Romeo and Juliet' got the lovers in the crowd all mushy, while 'Telegraph Road' left them awestruck by the tender guitar solo. For MTV, the effort didn't just guarantee a dedicated base of music lovers who were willing to spend big bucks for a night. It also brought them a great deal of visibility and inroads into those who may not have been traditionally MTV viewers.
Events are top on the "to do" list of most music channels. For enhanced decibels, Channel V has in the recent past taken up V Nights, Get Gorgeous 1&2- the hunt for India's super model, Nokia V Launch Pad (search for best upcoming bands) and finally the biggest of them all Samsung V Super Singer.
Said Amar Deb, Head Honcho, Channel V, "Events allow us to connect with our viewer's on a one to one level. For clients too events are an excellent proposition as they always look at ways and means to build brand saliency. For example [v] Get Gorgeous offers a great ground connect with brands associated with high fashion, glamour and style. [v] Launch Pad saw a gathering of over 30,000 people rocking to fresh talent along with international stars. It's out-of-the-box content and innovative packaging that really differentiate our products and contribute to our growth."
Deb added, "There is no doubt that big stars definitely add value to our programmes in terms of bringing scale to the event. For example having Adnan Sami and A R Rahman as the super jury for Samsung [v] Super Singer helped tremendously. Their expertise in the field of music definitely helped in this exhaustive search and of course their association by itself brings a huge amount of credibility and substantiation to the show."
ETC Music is another channel, which believes in the "events" mantra. Not too long ago, the channel took up the Baisakhi blast in Mumbai, with Sukhvinder, Malkit Singh and Javed Bashir (Pakistani singer) occupying centrestage. Other such events for ETC have been Sarhadon Ki Jugalbandi (In Delhi), Mekaal Hasan Event, Abhijit 'Starry Nights'(Mumbai) on Hindi channel, while on Punjabi channel we have been doing events like Pepsi Ban Ja Satara Yaara, Punjabi Music Awards and Miss Punjaban.
Jagjit Singh Kohli, CEO, ETC Networks Limited, said that events have always been a winning proposition for the channel. Said Kohli, "This is our way to market the channel and directly interact with the viewers. It's like reality programme where you interact with the viewer on one to one basis. Our channel share for most of the events is excellent. Normally niche channels do not indulge in events because it is expensive and time consuming activity. But ETC strongly believes that events are very important tool of communication, especially for niche channels like ours. But one has to be careful not to over indulge and be realistic. Then event has to definitely match your channel profile to be successful. We have mastered the art and it is a win win situation for us. Like our tag line, they deliver music that is Filmy as well as Indian. When you bring these stars in person through events, they naturally connect better with the viewers. In ETC Hindi, we have brought music stars because that is our core business."
He added, "In the Punjabi channel, we bring a mix of singers as well as artistes. Barring one or two all the events on Hindi and Punjabi channels have garnered huge market share, which naturally translates into additional revenue. A singer or star does not need to be necessarily big everytime. It is on the organiser how the present theme can generate the right hype around them." This year, ETC has taken on events such as Madad, Euphoria in Concert and Shankar Mahadevan Night on ETC Hindi.
Why do players in the music genre resort a lot more to events than those within the general entertainment sphere?
Deb asserted, "Music channels are essentially very brand driven and youth focused. They require extending the brand experience on-ground a lot more than traditional general entertainment channels. Typically large ground events are planned keeping in mind the property being promoted. So for a property like Popstars or Samsung [v] Super Singer, ground events play an invaluable role in creating the added element of buzz to compliment the regular media plans. On the other hand, we also look at doing small ground events on topical events like Valentine's Day, Grammy's or shows like Phone Bhooth, Agent Love etc."
TRP's or no TRP's music channels are increasingly opting to build decibels through events and promotions. And the effort seems to be paying off. As ETC put it, anything that does not generate revenue cannot be carried on as an ongoing process.